Peter Massing Exhibition statement
Fodder and Sons is an exhibition of family members that share their art and professional lives as artists. The premise for this show is to display the artworks comprised of a father (Paul) and his two sons (Peter and Jack). The term fodder is a play on words for father and references notions meaning: raise, rear, educate, bring-up, to give birth, bring into the world, feed, nourish.
The individual identities we each have are inherited or genetic, practical or impractical, and are either hyphenated or realized by a wide range of experiences. We are linked together, like Artist-Engineer, or Artist-Teacher, or Artist-Entrepreneur, or Artist-Father. The works in the show represent individual pursuits and varied perceptual skills that are a direct result of continued practice throughout our lives.
In response, I chose to focus on the complexities of my own identity and reflect on a hopeful and positive collective conscious. Art is central in my childhood development that has deep rooted memories for me and all my siblings. As I have grown and matured, so has my creativity and sensibility. My participation in this show represents merely what I am capable of; my work is a continuous process based on observation and internalizing my feelings. In doing so, I consider the words of my father and the encouragement of my brother.
This show is a rare opportunity for us. I am excited to decipher the visual codes that bridge a generational gap, or tie together the roots of our creative potential. Silent only are the audible inclinations to project where a visual language speaks softly with clear intention. To use my father’s words: the work does not speak for itself; it accepts what you bring to looking, and then a dialogue begins. Let us not fool ourselves.
NOTE: This exhibition was originally considered with a call for a potential family-themed show. My father’s inclusion in the Morean members show and his dedication and participation in the St. Pete art community gave cause to propose consideration on his behalf. During this time, Paul Massing was quite active attending Morean Art Center events, sustaining his membership, attending local figure and life drawing sessions, and inclusion in local and regional juried exhibitions. Dad loved the idea and found an opportunity to pull his sons along on his coat tails and show off our work.
Unfortunately, Paul Massing passed away before the show opening, the show was postponed due to Covid 19, and as time passed the immediacy and tone has been somewhat transformed. For my brother and me, we are honored and grateful to showcase a body of work inspired by our father.
-Peter Massing, November 2020, Jacksonville, FL
Thoughts About Dad from Jack A. Massing
As a young man my father, Paul N. Massing, was an art student in Buffalo NY. He studied anatomy, lettering, drafting, painting, and drawing. Since early childhood he had a natural gift. He could draw accurate portraits of people with feeling. He also had a very technical mind. These talents served him well throughout his life.
Raising a family forced him to apply his talent to the field of chemical engineering. As the sole breadwinner he was a reliable, hard-working man who met all his responsibilities. Dad provided his children with a healthy, safe, and comfortable environment. He was also a mature and passionate artist.
His art was his passion and he somehow found time to “crank it out” as he would say in his jazz filled basement studios in the houses of our youth. We lovingly honored his solitude when directed. My siblings and I were amazed by his sporadic production as deadlines loomed for his annual outdoor art exhibitions in the Buffalo/Niagara region where he exhibited. We all grew up attending the Allentown Art Festival, the outdoor show in Lockport, and the Lake Chautauqua Outdoor Art Festival.
My attention growing up was not centered on artwork like my older brother Peter. He had the gifts of drawing and painting that I lacked. My interests seemed to fall on the more technical side. I loved art and enjoyed our trips to the Albright-Knox Art Museum. I loved the outdoor festivals where we met all of dad’s creative cronies and became free range kids. My first trip to visit ArtPark in Lewiston, NY was with my dad. We had a great time. His interest and enthusiasm were on full display as we visited the artists’ site-specific work scattered around the park. They were all available to answer questions and impart their knowledge to the visitors of the park. That first visit with my dad changed my world. My understanding of art changed when I realized that art could be anything. A pile of dirt moved from one place to another could be an artwork. I attribute that experience and the next three summers that I worked there as an intern as transformative.
Seeing other artists’ work and listening to jazz were transformative for dad. He was always inspired by seeing work up close; we often talked about the creative impulse. In the following decades our exchanges through the mail of exhibition notices, catalogs, and invitations fueled our discourse. I was moved to find all the ephemera that I sent to my parents over the years carefully saved and contained in a couple of boxes after dad passed away. Throughout our lives my brother Peter and I enjoyed dad’s enthusiastic support of our endeavors as artists and teachers. We had a great mentor in the house. Our father gave us creative fodder to chew on and digest. Thank you man.
– Jack A. Massing, November 2020, Houston, Texas
Paul Massing (1929 – 2018)
Paul Massing was a beloved, long-time Morean member. Although he lived in Fernandina Beach, he would often travel south to attend the Morean’s Saturday Morning figure drawing studio, and he was a regular in our annual members exhibitions. Some of his fellow artists in the figure drawing studio took the time to remember Paul.
From Dean Fortune: “Paul was indeed one of a kind – of the good sort. A couple of times a year in the middle of the morning session you would look up, and Paul had materialized out of nowhere. Him, with his bundle of papers, his latest sketches laid out on one of the back tables, so he could scold at them (but maybe someone might compliment him on one). Generally self-critical, though equally excited when a line went down just right! (Ah, the exquisite line!) Always experimenting, and inquisitive of what you were using in a good way. He certainly did enjoy the attention of his work, but equally was interested and complimentary of all of the folks around him.”
From George Sharum: “I remember Paul as an enthusiastic and very friendly man who always took an interest in others. He always had some interesting observations and suggestions, making you feel special. He and those like him are what made (and I hope will make) the figure study studio a special gathering.”
From Debra Lansdowne: “Paul was one of the first people that I met when I started to attend the Saturday figure study sessions at the Morean Arts Center in 2005. I went to the art store on Central after the session and he was in the store and what a treat it was to meet and get to know him! Every time we met he said “I just LOVE to DRAW!” at least three times. He was always excited to tell me about the latest tools he was using, everything from broken popsicle sticks to giant brushes and I marveled at the fluidity of his work.
“Even when he was going through some obvious painful times he bopped around with his jolly attitude, I have never known another person so upbeat and loving and it really showed in his art as well. He told about his days as an engineer and some of the ground-breaking projects he worked on. He was so talented and such a sweet man.
“I also looked forward to seeing him at the Morean Member Show openings where we would often photograph each other with our work. Anyone who knew him will remember his infectious energy, talent, drive and generosity. Peace and blessings to all who loved him.”